The Last Word: Administration turned its back on Israel
Saturday, January 07, 2017 8:01 AM
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan non-binding resolution Thursday that rebukes the United Nations Security Council for approving a resolution calling Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem “a flagrant violation under international law.”
By a 342-80 vote the House declared its unwavering support for Israel and insisted that the United States reject any future U.N. actions that are similarly “one-sided and anti-Israel.”
“Our government abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a story by The Associated Press. “It is time to repair the damage done by this misguided hit job at the U.N.”
A similar bipartisan measure to reprimand the U.N. has been introduced in the Senate. Republicans and other supporters of Israel accuse President Obama of turning his back on the Jewish state.
The U.S. has traditionally used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to kill such anti-Israel resolutions in the U.N. Our country’s position has long been that Israel and the Palestinians must resolve their disputes through direct negotiations.
It seems clear that President Obama has not embraced America’s long-time support of Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the president of a “shameful ambush” in the Obama administration’s silence in the Security Council in December.
There are many viewpoints on the history of U.S.-Israel relations and policy, and the underlying sympathies and history involved in the Jewish state, from Exodus to the Holocaust, make for emotional divisions within our own country about our involvement with our brethren by the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel has been a staunch ally in a hotbed of hostility in the Middle East. So making a deal with Iran, which blatantly calls for the destruction of Israel, and failing to maintain our traditional support in the heat of continuing attacks in the U.N., certainly makes it appear we have undermined our long-standing relationship with this nation.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech added fuel to the fire in late December when he declared that the U.S. was standing up for a two-state solution when it abstained on the U.N. resolution. And, the AP reported, he criticized Israel for settlement building and blamed Netanyahu for dragging Israel away from democracy.
As Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green, Ohio) said after Thursday’s House resolution, “Standing with our closest ally in the Middle East ... has been a longstanding, bipartisan tradition. The Security Council’s resolution was another tired attempt to undermine Israel at the U.N., and I was profoundly disappointed that the president and his administration stood by idly as this occurred. Today’s vote by the House shows the strong support that exists for the Israeli people and their government. It’s time to turn the page on the last eight years, and I welcome a new administration that has made it clear that they value rebuilding this critical relationship.”
Kerry Hubartt is editor of The News-Sentinel.